Today I happened to catch the last few minutes of The Five, a news-talk show on the Fox News Channel. The panelists mentioned that the famed 1984 comedy Ghostbusters is going to be rereleased to theaters. This prompted one of the panelists, liberal Bob Beckel, to declare in all seriousness that ghosts are real and he knows because he has seen them.
He said he once lived on a farm or a ranch–I didn't get all the details–where, on a regular basis, he saw the ghosts of people wearing historical costumes. He described them as “images” of the people in life. A second panelist, whose name I didn't catch, later chimed in that her New York apartment building is haunted and that she has seen the ghost of a woman there.
But what interested me was the reaction of the other three panelists, who, without waiting for any details from Beckel, immediately started hooting him down, laughing hysterically, and making jokes about drug-induced hallucinations. Beckel apparently did do some drugs in his younger days, or so he says, but he insisted that he was clean and sober when he saw these particular manifestations. His serious comments, however, elicited only more derision.
The whole thing made me realize how much of a taboo society places on any serious discussion of the paranormal, even today. It's fine to make light of the subject in movies like Ghostbusters, but to suggest that there could be any reality to these phenomena provokes knee-jerk laughter and ridicule.
It's rather odd, really. Millions of people report these experiences, and yet the official position, rigidly enforced by media gatekeepers, is that their accounts are good for a laugh but can never, ever be taken seriously.